Nine terrible car tributes

02 Jul 2015 Car Style

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Nine terrible car tributes

It's an old trick, makers slapping a reputable racing driver’s name on struggling models in an attempt to shift some metal. Here’s some of the worst so far.

1. FIAT STILO MICHAEL SCHUMACHER EDITION

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Given this was Fiat’s idea of a tribute to Michael Schumacher’s incredible feat of winning five consecutive Formula One titles, it’s little wonder he didn’t bother winning another. Not even the halo effect of Herr Schumi could save the mediocre Stilo from ending up both a sales and a financial disaster for Fiat.

2. LADA SAMARA TUNED BY PETER BROCK

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As the phrase goes: ‘you can’t polish a turd’. But that didn’t stop touring car legend Peter Brock, cast aside by Holden and desperate to remain in the public eye, from trying to turn Russia’s steaming dump that was the Lada Samara into something desirable. A lost cause if ever there was one. 

3. SLR MCLAREN STIRLING MOSS EDITION

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It must have been a big cheque. Surely that’s the only way Stirling Moss was convinced to put his signature on these monstrosities, if you ask us. Offered to existing SLR owners, McLaren somehow convinced 75 of them they needed an uglier, much less practical version of a car they already owned. 

4. INFINITI FX50 BY SEBASTIAN VETTEL

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This was the first time you could be sure Vettel’s car was the same as everyone else’s. Spawned as part of the F1-driver’s role as Infiniti’s Director of Performance, the car’s 309kW 5.0-litre V8 and lots of carbon jewellery meant the FX50 wasn’t without appeal, but it cost twice the standard car. 

5. CITROEN C4 BY SEBASTIEN LOEB

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Are you a mad rally fan with more money than sense? Did you know they took gullible out of the dictionary? The Citroën C4 by Loeb is the car for you! Its competition pedigree is evident in the way it’s the same shape as the World Rally Car, while the ‘by Loeb’ badges added nothing but proof that you bought unwisely. 

6. FORD FALCON XR UTE BY CRAIG LOWNDES

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Lowndesy, mate, what were you thinking? No special chassis tuning, no extra power, the Kid’s contribution to this limited run of XR6, XR6 Turbo and XR8 utes was scrawling his name on the side and then smiling for PR pics. A crude way to move 650 Falcons, which would now be a fantastic month’s sales. 

7. OPEL CALIBRA KEKE ROSBERG EDITION

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If you’re going to celebrate a driver’s achievements by sticking his name on your car, it’s best to first make sure there is something worth celebrating. Former F1 champ Rosberg drove for Opel in the DTM series in 1994-’95, but was soundly beaten in both seasons by teammates Manuel Reuter and Klaus Ludwig. 

8. FORD XB FALCON JOHN GOSS SPECIAL

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Essentially an XB Hardtop V8 fitted with the GS pack, the JGS was quite a nice car. Where it fell over was that the PR spiel suggested it was built to celebrate Goss’s Bathurst win, yet it wasn’t released until August 1975, 10 months after the actual race! It therefore had ‘cynical marketing exercise’ written all over it. 

9. ALFA ROMEO NIKI LAUDA SPIDER

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The Graduate made the Alfa Spider a huge hit in the US, but 10 years later Alfa still tried to milk the cash cow with this Niki Lauda edition. Naff decals were intended to make the Spider look like Lauda’s (Alfa-powered) Brabham F1 car, but the only thing the two shared was spectacular unreliability.

This article was first published in MOTOR December 2014